Not Like This — #NoPrideHere
By #BlackLivesMatter NYC
Let us start off by saying that we stand in full solidarity with our siblings of the Toronto Chapter of #BlackLivesMatter. We have been inspired by the strategic moves made by the TO team, including the chapters decision to not attend PRIDE this year in order to spotlight the reality of anti-blackness in all areas of society. PRIDE is shared on the same day in both Toronto and New York City. We like our Toronto comrades, write this public statement to PRIDE NYC organizers, the Gay Officers Action League-NY (GOAL-NY) and the NYPD in declaring the following:
- the removal of uniformed police and PRIDE-detailed vehicles from the NYC Pride parade. As a human rights organization, GOAL-NY should be addressing the issues of local public safety issues within the NYPD Black and Brown communities across all precincts in NYC especially among those who identify as LGBTIQ, starting with supporting the Right to Know Act
- a commitment to transform the culture and events of PRIDE to center the lives of of those most marginalized — queer and transgender Black communities.
- the honoring of our ancestors and elders with true integrity of their radical existence. It was Marsha P. Johnson, a Black transwoman, who was one of the first to resist the attacks on Stonewall Inn by the NYPD. It was Miss Major, a Black transwoman, who continues to stand with the current queer and transgender organizers as we push back against a system that deems us disposable both in life and death.
As many people in NYC fawn over the NYPD’s participation in Pride events, we cannot forget the dangers that one of the biggest military forces poses to Black communities. In standing with BLM-Toronto, we must call to awareness the hyper-militarization of local police. Along with such awareness, we must stomach the death of Mx Bostick; a Black trans woman murdered here in NYC this past spring. We must acknowledge the daily taunting and threat to trans women of color as they ride the train. We must remember that Islan Nettles’ head was bashed into the sidewalk just outside of the PSA 6 Precinct in Harlem after a coward realized she was a trans woman.
We know that 92% of those arrested for fare beating are Black & Brown folks, and we have accounts of how trans women, who are among the most impoverished communities, are treated by the NYPD for something as simple as not having $2.75 for public transportation. This is what has led us to work with others in New York City in organizing our #SwipeitForward campaign. We connect the increase in violence against trans women of color to the deaths of Black immigrants like David Felix, murdered by an NYPD detective and his body not claimed for 21-days. We see all of those issues, happening here locally, as a reflection of the racist, transphobic, and homophobic rhetoric we have spewing from those as high up as the White House.
We call for #SafetyBeyondPolicing.
We have witnessed the shutdowns that occurred from our comrades at Pride’s this year in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles. However, understanding the reality of organizing in NYC — where activists are under unconstitutional surveillance — we could not ask Black people and non-Black POCs who are most marginalized to risk their safety on a day where they should be celebrating. The NYPD has one of the most expensive budgets in the world standing at $4.8-billion a year. We cannot help but wonder what would society look like if NYC were to divest in predatory policing and invest in the communities where that funding is needed most. Instead of paying for generators that beam into the windows of public housing apartments every single night of the year, funds could be used to increase resident associations in all 334 NYCHA buildings. Regardless of the announcement of Rikers closing, instead of Rikers housing more mentally ill persons than the psychiatric hospitals in the state, NYPD funds could hire over 2,000 social workers or special education teachers.
Being the two leading corporate sponsors, T-Mobile and Walmart could start this process by reinvesting the $1.7-million spent in sponsoring NYC Pride into reparations for families like the ones of David Felix and Delrawn Dempsey Small whose anniversary of his murder is approaching in two weeks.. The companies could support the local borough Prides that are led by Black & Brown organizers, often with little to no budget, in order to provide a safe-space for people of color. We challenge NYC Pride organizers to see how allowing police to carry weapons, barricade the people on this one day they get to be joyful, and closing off the Christopher Street Pier has left those who are in most need of these spaces in deficiency.
We call on you to #FreeThePier.
And still we know that our people require moments and days like this in order to nourish their spirits and be around their own community. This is why we are amplifying the following events happening this Pride Sunday, June 25, 2017:
- Biggest Baddiest Blackitiest Blanket on da Beach
- The Wetter the Better: Queer NYC Pride at Riis Beach
- 4th Annual Black Queer and Here Potluck Picnic
- Pride (and) JOY. A Day Party In Brooklyn: Special Edition
- The She Party: Pride Edition
In general we ask that those who believe #BlackLivesMatter, stand in solidarity with us in our demands. If you stand with #BlackLivesMatter, then we must not let borders stop us from seeing the damage of anti-blackness to our communities. If you stand with #BlackLivesMatter, be present to all Black lives — transgender, queer, non-binary, HIV, gay, lesbian, or cis-gender including those living with HIV/AIDS. We wish for all persons to not only be represented, but safe and empowered in their celebration of existence at any Pride.
We can no longer support spaces where a force that can kill us, with impunity, is allowed to patrol a day of celebration. We are here for Pride, but not like this.
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*Updated on June 25, 2017 at 2:20PM with additional edits.
This statement was penned by Kei Williams, outlined by Kleaver Cruz. Kei and Kleaver are Core organizers and members of the NYC Chapter of #BlackLivesMatter. Kei identifies as a Black queer transmasculine of center individual (they/them/their or Sun). Kleaver identifies as an Afro-Dominican queer individual (he/him/his). Black Lives Matter Greater New York is not a part of the BLM National Network nor are they a part of the BLM NYC Chapter.
Please contact #BlackLivesMatter NYC at firstname.lastname@example.org.